FHS closes 250 fake watch sites in weeks


The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) has won success in its bid to clamp down on replica watch sellers online, closing some 250 couterfeit websites and sending out warnings to the hosts of thousands more.

The FHS officially launched the project in October last year and reports that “the results speak for themselves”, with more than 900 sites dealt with in just a few weeks and 8,500 formal notifications sent. Owing to an automatic checking program, the scheme had managed to close down 250 counterfeit watch sites by December last year.

The Federation launched the scheme in reaction to the increasing number of fake luxury watch sites appearing online, selling counterfeit goods. In 2010 the FHS launched a research project to begin monitoring replica watch sites, with the project officially launched in the autumn of last year.

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The project has been developed in partnership with the Technical and IT Division of Bern University of Applied Science (BFH), and uses a bottom up approach. The monitoring program has been purposely built to an open specification so that with some adaptations it can be used in the fight against other counterfeit products.

In a statement on its site the FHS said: “Counterfeiters react quickly and don’t hesitate to change hosts when their sites are closed down; they must therefore be pursued without respite. And the reactions of counterfeiters are as hoped: coinciding with numerous confirmations of site closures dispatched by web hosts, counterfeiters for their part have been quick to make known their dissatisfaction at being harassed in this way, thereby providing the best possible proof of how effective the system actually is.”

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